Thursday, June 11, 2015

Air Freight Handling Group Wins Seven Year Cargo and Passenger Contract

WFS to Control Throughput at Five Spanish Airports
Shipping News Feature

SPAIN – Worldwide Freight Services (WFS), which claims the title of the world’s largest air cargo handler, has won new seven-year full ground handling licenses to operate at Spain’s Madrid, Seville, Santiago, Oviedo and Vitoria airports following a public tender conducted by Aena, operator of the Spanish airports, in a bidding process which saw ten ground handling companies take part. The deal means that the company will see for the biggest expansion of its ground handling activities in Europe in over 40 years.

WFS expects to commence full passenger and ramp services in Madrid, alongside its existing cargo business, and Seville in October in addition to continuing its cargo operations in Barcelona and Valencia. Santiago and Oviedo will join the WFS network in November along with Vitoria. In Vitoria, WFS will provide full ramp handling for freighters only.

The new licenses will see WFS making a multi-million euro investment in aircraft and passenger handling equipment and facilities in Spain and will also lead to the employment of hundreds of new personnel at the five airports. Pablo Garcia, WFS’ Executive Vice President Sales, said:

“The ability to combine passenger and ramp services with our well-established cargo operation in Madrid is a game changer for WFS. Winning these new licenses will see the biggest growth in our ground handling operations in Europe since our company was founded in 1971*. It represents a perfect example of where our historical strength in cargo handling has earned us the opportunity to become a full-service provider.”

The successful bid comes shortly after WFS announced plans to accelerate its growth by exploring more business opportunities and implementing its acquisition strategy under the new ownership of Platinum Equity, a global investment firm with more than $6 billion of assets under management. Olivier Bijaoui, Executive Chairman, President and CEO of WFS, said the company plans to double in size in the next few years through strategic acquisitions in key markets, partnerships and organic growth opportunities. Emilio Fernandez, CEO Europe at WFS, added:

“Spain is a very important country for WFS. It is where we opened our first international station in 1991 and today we can proudly say we are the largest cargo handling organisation in Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona and Bilbao. We are honoured that Aena has shown this high level of confidence and trust in WFS to provide the same high quality of passenger and ramp services. We aim to exceed their expectations and, in doing so, play an important role in the continued growth of the passenger and cargo market in Spain and the positive development of the country’s economy.”

* confusion reigns as although this release claims a pedigree dating back to 1971, the WFS website mentions its inauguration in 1983.